For most people, losing weight is more about feeling better than fitting into smaller clothes. However, the health benefits of losing weight are undeniable and include improved blood pressure, better sleep, and a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
There are many approaches to losing weight, and one of them is drinking kombucha. Weight loss often includes drinking teas and acidic beverages, and kombucha is both. So, is drinking kombucha going to help you lose weight? The short answer is – it might.
But to get a better sense of how kombucha promotes weight loss, we have to understand what it is, how to consume it correctly, and whether there are any side effects to keep in mind.
- What Is Kombucha?
- How Is Kombucha Made?
- Kombucha and Weight Loss
- How to Drink Kombucha for Weight Loss
- Kombucha as a Post-Workout Recovery Drink
- Other Health Benefits of Kombucha
- Kombucha and a Holistic Approach to Weight Loss
What Is Kombucha?
Before we explore the kombucha weight loss connection, let’s discuss what precisely kombucha is, how it’s made, and its nutritional value.
First, what does kombucha taste like?
While you can flavor it in many ways, kombucha is a mixture of almost sweet, acidic, herbal, and fruity. Color-wise, it resembles green, red, white, or black tea, depending on which herbal drinks are used as a base.
Regarding its nutritional profile, kombucha has 7 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of sugar and doesn’t contain any fat or protein.
It also contains vitamin C and many B vitamins, including B12, essential for developing nerve and red blood cells.
However, when discussing weight loss, it’s also essential to point out that a cup or 8 ounces of kombucha has around 30 calories, placing the beverage in the low-calorie drink category.
How Is Kombucha Made?
Kombucha was popularized in the 1990s and early 2000s, but it’s actually an ancient Chinese drink. However, the name came from Dr. Kombu, a Korean doctor who introduced this fermented tea to the emperor of Japan in 414 A.D.
At first, kombucha was a beverage made solely at home, but nowadays, it’s mass-produced and available in supermarket chains. Still, you could make your own kombucha, provided you have all the ingredients.
All you need is:
- Cold filtered water
- Green, black, red, or white tea (loose leaf or bags)
While most of the ingredients you might already have in your kitchen, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast or SCOBY is something you’ll probably need to purchase online.
SCOBY is a cellulose-type mat containing all the necessary bacteria and yeast introduced to brewed tea and helps make kombucha.
Some call it “kombucha mother” because it also grows “baby” SCOBYs that are separated and used for different kombucha batches.
Kombucha and Weight Loss
Understanding which ingredients are used to make kombucha and what the process looks like makes it easy to see why some consider it a weight loss beverage. But how does kombucha help you lose weight, especially when sugar is one of the most essential ingredients?
Indeed, most people choosing to lose weight tend to avoid sugar, which might put them off drinking kombucha.
The good news is that most of the sugar (over 90%) is consumed by SCOBY, and the fermentation process turns sugar into acetic acid and ethanol. Therefore, while kombucha contains sugar, it’s in minimal quantities.
Still, if you’re on a low-carb diet plan, you’ll need to consider the sugar and carbohydrate content when tracking nutrients. Besides not being too sweet and low in calories, kombucha can promote weight loss in other ways.
Better Gut Health
There’s a lot of talk about gut health these days and how important it is for our immune system and overall well-being. When there’s a disbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, we experience food sensitivities, bloating, irregular bowel movements, and even candida.
All of these issues can make loss more challenging and can even lead to weight gain. The best way to regulate gut health is to introduce probiotics and micrograms that restore gut flora.
Fortunately, kombucha is well-known for its probiotic content and can help your digestive tract get healthier and better functioning. Better digestion leads to improved nutrient absorption, which can help many people in their weight loss efforts.
Positive Impact on Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood, and insulin sensitivity affects how responsive the blood cells are to the insulin. Reduced insulin sensitivity can lead to severely high blood sugar level content, eye problems, kidney disease, and even some forms of cancer.
Research has shown that acetic acid, found in kombucha, positively affects insulin sensitivity. In addition, the acetic acid is responsible for the somewhat sour flavor of kombucha and prompts your body to use fat for fuel instead of storing it.
Another benefit of acetic acid for weight loss is its potential to suppress appetite. So, a glass of kombucha is a good idea before eating a large meal. Weight loss isn’t magic, but if having a glass of cold kombucha before lunch can reduce appetite even a little bit, that can be tremendously helpful.
A Caffeine Boost
Some kombucha aficionados report an energy boost after drinking the fermented beverage. This burst of energy can prompt them to get on a bike or go for a walk instead of sitting or taking a nap.
The jolt of energy can be attributed to caffeine content, especially if kombucha is made with green or black tea leaves. On average, a cup of kombucha has around 15 milligrams of caffeine, considerably less than the 60-140 milligrams one might consume in a cup of coffee.
Still, people who don’t usually drink coffee or green tea might feel caffeine intake from kombucha more intensely. If they redirect that energy to exercise, it will likely promote their weight loss.
Type 2 Diabetes Management
In the same way, drinking kombucha can reduce insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss; it can also help manage Type 2 diabetes, an insidious disease that affects millions of people and hinders their quality of life.
However, studies have shown that drinking kombucha can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 18% and help reduce blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates.
Keep in mind that kombucha isn’t a treatment for Type 2 diabetes or any other illness but rather a beneficial aid that can promote better health and potential weight loss.
How to Drink Kombucha for Weight Loss
If you’re going to try kombucha for weight loss, it’s best to develop a strategy that works for you. For example, drinking a glass of kombucha once every two weeks is unlikely to lead to any associated benefits, so incorporating it more regularly is vital.
However, that doesn’t mean you should drink gallons of kombucha daily. Remember, this beverage is low in calories, but the energy units can quickly accumulate. Ideally, you should consume no more than 12 ounces of kombucha per day.
Some choose to drink kombucha on an empty stomach, especially in the morning, as they find it helps their digestion during the rest of the day. Others choose to consume it before their biggest meal, which for many is dinner.
One of the issues with kombucha and weight loss is that some people might not enjoy the taste as much but want to experience the health benefits. A great way to solve this problem is to include herbs, fruits, cinnamon, almond, or coconut extract to improve the flavor.
Kombucha as a Post-Workout Recovery Drink
Working on your fitness levels is crucial for weight loss, mobility, and overall health. After an intense workout, many people choose to have a sports drink that can restore the lost minerals and electrolytes, which help muscles contract and promote blood pressure stabilization.
Typically, the sports drinks in gyms or stores are also filled with artificial sugars and other additives, and it’s best not to over-consume them.
On the other hand, choosing kombucha as a post-workout recovery beverage offers some excellent benefits. Fermented drinks provide plenty of vitamins and electrolytes that replenish the body and make you feel refreshed.
Other Health Benefits of Kombucha
The kombucha weight loss connection is undeniable, albeit not miraculous. But if you’re already considering kombucha as a helpful tool on your weight loss journey, it can be practical to learn about a few other health benefits it provides.
Some research shows that kombucha could help prevent certain types of cancer, but we don’t know much about it. For example, kombucha’s antioxidant properties aid the body remove free radicals responsible for cancer cell development.
Furthermore, we know that kombucha promotes better gut health. Because a properly functioning digestive system affects mood and mental health, we can argue that drinking kombucha can reduce symptoms of depression.
Losing a significant amount of weight can be overwhelming for many people who might already suffer from depression, so having a few glasses of kombucha every day while they’re on their weight loss journey can be helpful.
Read also: Best Meal Plan for Weight Loss
Kombucha and a Holistic Approach to Weight Loss
As with any weight loss trend, there’s the hype and the truth. But, compared to artificial weight loss smoothies and drinks, kombucha’s natural ingredients make it a fantastic option as a weight loss aid.
But you’re not going to lose weight by only drinking kombucha. Instead, weight loss requires a more holistic approach, which includes changing your diet long-term and exercising.
Still, the probiotic, acetic acid, caffeine, and low-sugar content make it the perfect choice for anyone looking to improve their health and drop a few pounds.